Thursday, December 24, 2009
For this analysis, we assumed that the Lords, Ladies, maids, and entertainers are not performing defense services. Articles and material would appear to all be EAR99. Dealing only with the associated hardware, I propose the following HTS designations:
• Twelve drummers drumming: 9206.00.20 00 - Percussion musical instruments (for example, drums, xylophones, cymbals, castanets, maracas): Drums
• Eleven pipers piping: 9126.96.36.199 - Woodwind instruments: Flutes and piccolos (except bamboo)
• Ten lords a-leaping: Since there are no hereditary Lords in the U.S., the Country of Origin of the Lords would need to be specified, and the leaping activity subjected to an analysis as to whether it constitutes a defense service.
• Nine ladies dancing: See above.
• Eight maids a-milking: Given a modern interpretation: 8434.10.00.00 - Milking machines and dairy machinery, and parts thereof: Milking machines
• Seven swans a-swimming: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other
• Six geese a-laying: (Assume the geese weigh over 185 gms.) 0105.99.00.00 - Live poultry of the following kinds: Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas: Other, Other
• Five golden rings: Note: 9. For the purposes of heading 7113, the expression "articles of jewelry" means: (a) Any small objects of personal adornment (for example, rings, bracelets, necklaces, broaches, earnings, watch chains, fobs, pendants, tie pins, cuff links, dress studs, religious or other medals and insignia); 7113.19.50.00 - Of other precious metal, whether or not plated or clad with precious metal: Other, other.
• Four calling birds: Today when people sing that song they usually sing about calling birds. But actually many years ago they sang the song's old English words. They sang about colly, or collie, birds. Colly or collie means black, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. It comes from an old word for coal. Wikipedia pins down colly bird even more: to the European blackbird. Common in parks and cities in Europe, it looks like a dusky version of its cousin, the American robin. Both belong to the thrush family. Like all thrushes, they sing (or call) beautifully. 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other
• Three French hens: Live poultry of the following kinds: Chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas: Chickens, Weighing not more than 185 g: 0105.11.00; Breeding stock, whether or not purebred: 10 Layer-type (egg-type), 20 Broiler-type (meat-type), 40 Other; Chickens, Weighing more than 185 g: 0105.94.00.00 (We actually spent some time worrying about whether the "French Hens" might be a re-export...)
• Two turtle doves: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other
• A partridge in a pear tree: 0106.39.00.00 - Birds: Other; 0602.20.00.00 - Trees, shrubs and bushes, grafted or not, of kinds which bear edible fruit or nuts.
And remember, any Christmas ornamentation falls under 9505.10: Festive, carnival, or other entertainment articles, including magic tricks and practical joke articles; parts and accessories thereof: Articles for Christmas festivities and parts and accessories thereof.
Credit: Tyler Brown, Sr. Export Technical Representative, Office of Export Compliance, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (reprinted with permission).
Tensions over trade frictions between China and the U.S. heightened Wednesday with U.S. trade authorities criticizing Beijing for imposing more trade restrictions in 2009, following confrontations over China's restrictions on the distribution of U.S. films, music and books and the U.S.' imposition of anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese oil-well pipes.
Economic scholars observed that trade conflicts are a global issue rather than friction between China and the U.S. against the background of a slow economic recovery.
"China continued to pursue industrial policies in 2009 that seek to limit market access for non-Chinese origin goods and foreign-service suppliers," the U.S. Trade Representative's office said in its eighth annual report on how well China is complying with its World Trade Organization obligations.
The use of trade restraints and preferences, including export restraints, tax rebates, unique standards and the so-called "Buy China" policy, has been increasing during the past two years, the 121-page report said. Read more here.
The partridge is a deal, and so is the pear tree, for the generous giver who wants to bestow the gifts listed in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” on a beloved this season. But despite a tattered economy, the memorable mix of leaping lords, milking maids and a slew of fowl will cost slightly more this year.
At $21,465.56, the eclectic collection of goods and services is about 1.8 percent more expensive than a year ago, largely because of higher gold prices, according to PNC Wealth Management in Pennsylvania.
The group has compiled the list for 26 years as a catchy way to track the annual cost of living. The Web site, http://pncchristmaspriceindex.com, now includes sample lesson plans, games, music and other media to help elementary and high school students learn about economic trends. Read more here.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Bank of Montreal is predicting Canada and the United States will post gross domestic product growth of 2.5% next year. The growth essentially reverses a similar decline this year.
The bank is also predicting that the era of zero interest rates will come to an end just after mid-year in Canada and not soon afterwards in the U.S. However, borrowing costs are expected to remain exceptionally low as central banks will wait until they are absolutely certain the recovery has taken root before hiking aggressively.
Despite the growth, the Bank of Montreal is predicting the jobless rate will still average 10% in the United States and 8.5% in Canada next year.
Inflation, however, is expected to remain subdued, averaging 1.5% in Canada and about two per cent in the United States.
This book includes summary tables by country and by service category and zone totals for the European Union, Euro area, G7, NAFTA, OECD - Asia and Pacific, OECD - Europe and total OECD which are comparable. Tables for each individual OECD country and for the EU and the euro area showing data for detailed service categories are also provided. Series are shown in US dollars and cover the period 1999-2007.
Services covered: Sea transport; Air transport; Other transport; Travel; Communications services; Construction services; Insurance services ; Financial services; Computer and information services; Royalties and licence fees; Other business services; Personal, cultural and recreational services; and; Government services.
Further details and ordering information here.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics released on Friday America's Freight Transportation Gateways 2009, a data profile of the nation's leading international freight transportation gateways in 2008 and trends in movement of goods through these seaports, airports, and land border crossings since 1990.
U.S. freight gateways handled more than $3.4 trillion (in current dollars) of international merchandise trade in 2008, an increase of 9% from 2007. The report, an update of a 2004 BTS report, highlights the top 25 freight gateways. The complete report can be found here.
Related: DOT Report: Ontario Trade Gateways Vital to NAFTA (Today’s Trucking)
U.S. export compliance enforcement continues to escalate. The recent $9.4 million export compliance and economic sanction penalty violation levied against DHL is a good indication that the U.S. government has no problem issuing costly penalties, even in these difficult times. Inexplicably, with an increasingly active compliance enforcement environment, some companies continue to scale back financial and workforce resources related to export compliance. That isn’t consistent with basic corporate risk mitigation policies.
Corporate executives are best served by balancing the risk of violating basic trade regulations with the need to keep an effective export compliance program. Having a compliance program on “paper” is not enough to prevent a company from being subject to penalties and operational risk. The challenge is creating the right compliance environment for each business.
An effective compliance program can be maintained on a reduced budget if the essential core practices are clearly defined and followed. Read more here.
At a time when the United States needs to create jobs and get its economy moving again, why isn't anyone in the federal government talking about international trade? Leslie Schweitzer, senior trade adviser for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CofC), posed that question at the 8th Annual Northeast Cargo Symposium of the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade (CONECT).
Considering that "global trade and investment is a stimulus package in itself," it's a mystery why that subject isn't included in discussions about the economic crisis, Schweitzer said. International trade is what continues to drive the U.S. economy – a fact many legislators don't seem to appreciate, she added.
The U.S. Chamber is concerned that Congress is buying into the "rising tide of isolationism and protectionism" pushed by the AFL-CIO and other labor groups, Schweitzer said, noting that a move in that direction would be disastrous. "Curtailing international trade is a surefire way to prolong the recession," she said. The chamber estimates that 57 million U.S. jobs are directly or indirectly related to international trade. Read more here.
Questionable data clouds oversight in U.S.-Canada trade
Congressional legislation has done little to assure the federal government that U.S. and Canadian softwood lumber traders are playing by rules established by a 2006 bilateral agreement, the Government Accountability Office reported. The 2006 Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement was intended to settle years of quarreling over Canadian lumber exported to the United States.
Some U.S. importers – U.S. home builders in particular – benefited from the low-cost lumber imports, but U.S. producers complained they were being undercut, and accused Canadian provincial governments of illegally subsidizing lumber production. The 2006 agreement set quotas on Canadian softwood lumber, and required the government to collect a fee from exporters. Read more here.
Earlier this year, Canada and the European Union announced plans to negotiate a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), possibly the biggest Canadian trade negotiations since NAFTA. The first round of talks took place in Ottawa in October, yet the treaty has generated practically no public scrutiny.
That may change following the leak last week of the European Union's proposed intellectual property chapter.
Simply put, the EU demands target the entire Canadian economy. They include increased patent protection for pharmaceutical companies, heightened support for famous trademarks and new rules for industrial designs. Read more here.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Amid increasing U.S. trade protectionism, Canada's premiers will get a moment in the spotlight at the influential National Governors' Association winter meeting, a gathering that often serves as a guiding policy light for both Congress and the White House.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is co-hosting an event during the meeting entitled Common Border, Common Ground, focusing on touchy Canada-U.S. issues that include trade, border security and energy. It's the first-ever meeting between the association and its Canadian counterpart, the Council of the Federation.
“This historic meeting between NGA and COF is an opportunity to build lasting relationships,” reads the invitation from Wall and Jim Douglas, governor of Vermont and chairman of the association. It goes on to “strongly encourage” all governors to attend the February 20 event. Read more here.
(World Trade Interactive)
As this year’s session of Congress draws to a close, lawmakers missed an opportunity to approve a miscellaneous trade bill that would have extended tariff breaks on hundreds of imported goods. There was still time, however, to approve legislation extending the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preference Act.
The House of Representatives approved Dec. 14 a one-year extension of the Generalized System of Preferences and the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which are both currently slated to expire Dec. 31. This bill does not include an extension of trade preferences to apparel imported from Cambodia, as some lawmakers had been pushing for. It also does not include new trade preferences for goods imported from designated reconstruction opportunity zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which President Obama supports.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., had put a hold on Senate consideration of this bill because he wants to terminate GSP eligibility for sleeping bags from Bangladesh. Sessions lifted his hold after U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk agreed to review a petition seeking this change as part of the annual GSP review. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, had also posed a potential obstacle by pushing for Senate action on her bill to create a new assistant U.S. trade representative position for small business issues (see related item, below). However, Snowe never placed a formal hold on the bill, and at press time it appeared her concerns had been resolved, although no further details were available.
A miscellaneous trade bill was introduced in the House Dec. 16, but the House adjourned for the year before passing it. This bill would have suspended or reduced for three years duties on over 600 imported goods, most of which are inputs or components for products manufactured in the U.S. Many of the bill’s provisions would have renewed existing duty suspensions or reductions, which are now expected to expire Dec. 31. There were reports that the MTB stalled due to concerns raised by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., about lowering tariffs on imported goods amid declining domestic manufacturing employment.
Inside US Trade reports that Congress may act in early 2010 to approve the tariff suspensions and reductions that have already been reviewed by the International Trade Commission, which include new measures as well as the renewal of existing duty breaks. A second bill with additional provisions could then see action later in the year. The article cited unnamed sources as noting that when MTB provisions have expired in the past before being reinstated, there were no refunds of duties paid by affected importers.
Read the complete summary here.
On December 21 the U.S. announced that China will end a series of “famous brand” subsidies for a range of goods that Washington challenged as illegal at the World Trade Organization. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said the countries signed an agreement to settle a complaint filed last December with the WTO challenging an array of programs viewed as improper export subsidies.
“Export subsidies are illegal under WTO rules,” the USTR said. “The termination of the subsidies will level the playing field for American workers in a wide range of manufacturing and export sectors, including household electronic appliances, textiles and apparel, light manufacturing industries, agricultural and food products, metal and chemical products, medicines and health products.”
The case centers on China's “Famous Export Brand” program and the “China World Top Brand” program under which the government set out criteria for export aid. Enterprises involved in the programs had been entitled to various government aid, including what Washington said appeared to be financial support tied to exports. Read more here.
Producers and importers of Chinese and Vietnamese goods, and their competitors, take note: the analysis of whether the goods are being dumped in Canada may take on a whole new complexion following the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Tianjin Pipe (Group) Corporation v. TenarisAlgomaTubes Inc.
International and domestic law prohibits injury caused by the “dumping” of goods, which occurs when imported goods are sold at less than “normal” value. Under Canada's Special Import Measures Act (SIMA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) usually determines normal value by assessing the fair costs of production of the actual goods in question, with reference to other producers in the same country.
However, section 20 of the SIMA provides that where goods are imported directly from a prescribed country (currently only China and Vietnam), if in the CBSA's opinion the price of the goods is “substantially determined” by the government of that country, then normal value is determined by reference to goods produced in another country, other than Canada.
The significance of this section is apparent. Under the default regime, normal value may be quite low if the goods are produced in a country where macroeconomic conditions have a significant downward effect on the costs of production, such as inexpensive labour and limited government regulation. Under the alternative analysis prescribed by section 20 of the SIMA, the normal value of the goods may not reflect those macroeconomic conditions. Thus, Chinese and Vietnamese goods stand to lose significant price advantages if the CBSA is of the opinion that the price of the goods is “substantially determined” by the government. Read more here.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Plenty of Canadians will be crossing the land border into the U.S. this holiday season which prompted U.S. Customs and Border Protection to issue a press release offering some helpful pointers to make it a smoother process.
Here are their tips as listed in the CBP press release:
1) Travelers should familiarize themselves with the “Know Before You Go” section of the CBP website to avoid fines and penalties associated with the importation of prohibited items.
2) Travelers should prepare for the inspection process before arriving at the inspection booth. Individuals should have their approved travel documents available for the inspection and they should be prepared to declare all items acquired abroad.
3) Members of the traveling public should consult the CBP website site to monitor border wait times for various ports of entry. Information is updated hourly and is useful in planning trips and identifying periods of light use/short waits. During periods of heavy travel, border crossers may wish to consider alternative, less heavily traveled entry routes.
4) Travelers should plan to build extra time into their trips in the event they cross during periods of exceptionally heavy traffic.
5) Know the difference between goods for personal use vs. commercial use. For more details, visit www.cbp.gov/travel.
6) Do not attempt to bring fruits, meats, dairy/poultry products and firewood into the United States from Canada without first checking whether they are permitted.
7) Understand that CBP officers have the authority to conduct enforcement examinations without a warrant, ranging from a single luggage examination up to and possibly including a personal search. Even during the holiday travel season, international border crossers should continue to expect a thorough inspection process when they enter the U.S. from Canada.
For more information, please visit www.GetYouHome.gov or www.cbp.gov.
“Buy American” policies are lamentably alive and well, and somewhat strengthened, in a new $154-billion (U.S.) stimulus bill that was passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The White House should press for the relevant clauses to be removed, so that it is not passed with this protectionist element by the Senate next year. Canada needs to lobby harder.
Once the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010 reaches the desk of Barack Obama, it would be too much to hope that the President will veto the whole bill for the sake of friendship with Canada or free-trade principles, or indeed for the convenience of integrated North American supply chains. If it is going to be amended, that will have to happen in the Senate. Read more here.
Canada’s Transport Minister, John Baird, today [Thursday] announced that Canada’s air transport agreement with all 27 European Union (EU) Member States will be signed and finalized tomorrow in Canada. This agreement is the largest and most comprehensive that Canada has ever negotiated, and concludes the process first launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“Our government has moved at an unprecedented pace since 2006 to negotiate or expand air travel agreements with other countries, and we are proud to now be signing our largest ever with the European Union,” said Baird. “For the first time, Canadian air carriers will be able to access and expand into all EU member states, and EU carriers will be able to expand into Canada. The result will be better air travel choices for Canadians and new opportunities for Canadian businesses by 2010.”
“The EU is Canada’s second largest bilateral aviation, trade and investment market. In 2008, Canadian exports to the EU totalled $52.2 billion, an increase of 3.9% from 2007. This comprehensive air transport agreement will help boost Canada’s economy by creating new jobs, expanding our commercial links and building connections for our citizens,” said Stockwell Day, Minister of Trade. Read more here.
Makers of toys and other children’s products won a reprieve Thursday from federal regulators trying to implement legislation Congress passed more than a year ago after a holiday season marred by scores of lead-tainted toy recalls. The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to delay for another year – until February 2011 – the certification and independent third-party testing rules on the amount of lead allowed in children’s products. Those rules were set to kick-in last February but have been delayed twice.
Manufacturers and importers still must test their products to make sure they’re safe and meet federal limits on lead. But the commission’s decision late Thursday means they won’t have to produce compliance certificates and perform third-party testing for now, though many are already doing so at retailers’ requests.
Even so, the commission’s action was aimed at giving businesses more time to comply with the many additional requirements spelled out in the 2008 product safety law. “The extension of the stay was needed in order to give the agency more time to promulgate rules,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a statement. Read more here.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted to its Web site a new informed compliance publication that provides guidance on the administrative process involved in submitting requests for rulings, internal advice, protest reviews and reconsideration of previously issued ruling letters.
However, CBP cautions that the material in this publication is provided for general information purposes only. “Because many complicated factors can be involved in customs issues,” CBP states, “an importer may wish to obtain a ruling … or to obtain advice from an expert who specializes in customs matters, for example, a licensed customs broker, attorney or consultant.”
CBP summarizes the information in this publication as follows:
“If you plan on importing into the United States, you may wish to consider obtaining a binding ruling before the product arrives at the port so that you will know how CBP will treat the merchandise. Should you disagree with the ruling that you have received, you may appeal that letter by sending a request for reconsideration to the [Regulations and Rulings] RR Headquarters Office. In addition, if you have questions about how a port is handling your goods, you may request that the port seek internal advice from the RR Headquarters Office. Finally, if you disagree with the port’s decision regarding your merchandise you may protest that decision and request that the RR Headquarters Office review the port’s decision on the protest so long as certain requirements are met. By following the suggestions above in formulating your requests, you can make the process of obtaining a ruling or other decision from CBP as problem free as possible.”
The publication includes information on the following issues.
• who can request a prospective ruling and how this should be done
• what information must and should be included in prospective ruling requests
• who can rely on rulings issued by CBP
• protesting CBP rulings and requesting further review of protests
• filing requests for internal advice
• judicial review of CBP decisions
U.S. business groups urged congressional leaders Wednesday to avoid a “Buy American” mandate in legislation aimed at creating jobs and helping the economy’s recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s. In a replay of a fight earlier this year over the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a coalition of nearly 30 business groups warned that requiring projects funded by the jobs bill to use only American-made goods would undermine, rather than foster, U.S. job growth.
“We are very disappointed to see Congress ginning up more ‘Buy American’ rules in this jobs bill,” Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “They will be as counterproductive as those in the recovery act.”
The House is expected to vote soon on a jobs bill that includes $48 billion for ready-to-go construction projects… Read more here.
Ahead of a meeting today [Wednesday] at the White House, Ron Bloom, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser for manufacturing policy, said that the U.S. needs, “legal, tax and regulatory regimes that promote American manufacturing and do not place an undue burden on those who wish to manufacture products in America. “It is vital to have a concerted effort across the administration to support an innovative, vibrant manufacturing sector that creates and sustains good paying jobs.” […]
In response to today’s announcement, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement:
“While the public and private sectors are creating a demand for new industries like wind, solar, high-speed rail, and medical IT, we need to do more to ensure that we make these products in America. The Obama Administration’s framework released today is a significant step for domestic manufacturing and a departure from years of neglect that previous administrations wrought on our nation’s manufacturing sector.
“The proposals outlined in the framework can help stem the loss of jobs and create new jobs for American workers by investing in 21st century technologies. But in order to provide manufacturers with the tools they need to create jobs, we need policies that do not just stimulate consumption -- we need to stimulate production…” Read more here.
Western Canada Conference, February 22
Trade remedies in the forms of anti-dumping and countervailing duties are applied to unfairly traded imported goods that would otherwise injure Canadian production. With the downturn in the economy and with a view to lessening competition from imports, Canadian industry is expected to turn increasingly to trade remedies. In recent years, imports into Western Canada, including those used in the oil and gas industry, have faced many challenges of this type and in the near term can expect to be faced with more.
Included in this session:
• the nature of, and process involved in, trade remedy actions
• defending against trade actions
• practical strategies to combat the effects of their application.
Darrel Pearson, Partner, Bennett Jones, LLP
Nicole Stewart, CCS, Lead, Customs, EnCana Corporation (invited)
Join I.E.Canada on February 22 & 23, 2010 in Calgary for a two-day conference that will provide you with the information your company needs to thrive in challenging times
To register go here and for further details download a brochure here.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Group calls for risk assessed, practical, feasible approach
An official of the British International Freight Association says the United States should scrap its 100% scanning program and adopt a “risk assessed, commercially practical and technologically feasible” approach to container security.
BIFA Director John O’Connell said the Department of Homeland Security had underestimated the enormity of scanning all containers, not to mention the costs to governments and the limitations of the available technology. Read more here.
Effective July 2010, companies that do business in Ontario and British Columbia will be faced with the harmonized sales tax (HST), a single tax combination of the PST and GST. The HST has the potential to affect cash flow, software and systems requirements, and human resource planning.
Yet, out of almost 500 executives surveyed recently by KPMG, only 17% felt they were well prepared for the new Ontario HST.
Put yourself in the lead by preparing now.
Join I.E.Canada on January 26 at a breakfast seminar hosted by KPMG. Tax expert John Bain will provide an up to date briefing on the HST focusing on key issues for importers and exporters. The presentation will consider the HST transitional rules, cash-flow implications and other compliance issues.
Register today. Facing these challenges and getting an early start on the transition could put you ahead of the competition. To register, please click here: here and for further details, please click here.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that as of Feb. 8, 2010, it is revoking ruling HQ H006588 on whether certain commission payments are included in the appraised value of imported merchandise under 19 USC 1401a. CBP states that since its decision to revoke is based on the specific facts of the particular matter at hand, it is not revoking or modifying any other rulings or any treatment.
In ruling HQ H006588, CBP determined that the importer did not meet its burden of establishing that payments made to a purported buying agent abroad constituted bona fide buying commissions because there was insufficient documentary evidence to establish the existence of a bona fide buying agency relationship. Consequently, the payments made to the alleged buying agent were included in transaction value as an addition to the price actually paid or payable.
CBP has since reconsidered its position in light of additional information that was made available regarding the control exercised by the importer/principal over the purported agent. The importer has also revised the buying agency agreement and a joint venture agreement relative to this matter. In light of this additional information, CBP considers that the particular payments at issue constitute bona fide buying commissions. As such, they are not included in transaction value as part of the price actually paid or payable or as an addition thereto and are not dutiable. CBP is therefore issuing ruling HQ H022168 to revoke HQ H006588.
With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists working at U.S. ports of entry are busy making sure that imported Christmas trees are free from insects and pests that could harm trees in America’s national forests and neighborhood backyards.
Importing a Christmas tree from British Columbia into Washington State now requires certification from the grower that their holiday tree was grown in an area of Canada where gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle are not known to occur. Without such certification the holiday tree may be prohibited and the travelers must return their tree back to Canada. A holiday tree of any type that is found to be harboring harmful insects must also be returned to Canada.
“Although your Christmas trees may appear to be harmless, there could be hidden threats that could seriously harm our natural resources and economy,” said Chief Charles Cunningham, Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist in Blaine, Wash.
“Our best advice to anyone wondering if they may import their Christmas tree is to please speak with a CBP agriculture specialist at (360) 332-1640 (Blaine, Wash.) or (360) 988-2971 (Sumas, Wash.) for details.” Importations of Christmas trees grown outside of British Columbia or destined to other areas of the U.S. are subject to additional regulations.
The European Union, the United States, and Latin American, African and Caribbean nations are expected to initial a deal on Tuesday ending a decades-old trade dispute over bananas, European officials said. The pact will end the longest-running trade dispute and remove a potential obstacle to a new deal to open global commerce in the World Trade Organization’s eight-year-old Doha round. Final signature is expected to take place next year. Read more here.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The Canada Border Services Agency, Compliance Management Division has released its list of national priorities for verification in the coming year.
The selection of post-release verification priorities for trade programs is intended to support the CBSA’s risk-based approach that allows the Agency to ensure compliance with trade legislation and regulations while helping to provide a level playing field for Canadian businesses by ensuring the accuracy of trade data and the proper assessment, collection, relief and deferral of duties and taxes.
As outlined in this Powerpoint presentation, the CBSA has identified 14 national verification priorities so far for 2010:
• Plastic household goods
Tariff Classification verification
• Magnesium sulphates
• Cotton yarn
• Copper and articles thereof
• Stone vs. articles of stone
• Reclaimed rubber
• Furniture parts
• Vegetable fats and oils
• Articles of bedding and similar furnishings
• Perfume and toilet water industry
• Mattress upholstery
• Electric generators
Importers of the foregoing commodities that are being targeted by the CBSA in 2010 would be well-advised to immediately begin reviewing all aspects of their compliance procedures, especially as they relate to the applicable areas of concern (i.e., valuation, tariff classification, and origin determination) in order to minimize potential risk exposure.
If assistance is needed in this regard, GHY has extensive experience in conducting pre-audit verifications and compliance risk assessments. To find out more about how we can help, contact can be Alan Dewar toll-free (1-800-667-0771) or by email.
Note: Although we are proactively contacting as many clients as possible that we reasonably believe may potentially be impacted by the CBSA’s 2011 verification agenda, this effort may be somewhat impaired due to the fact that a list of specific HS tariff items being targeted by the Agency has not yet been released. Therefore, if we haven’t managed to reach out to you as yet in this regard, please consider the commodities under review with respect to your imports and let us know if you feel there may be potential exposure to risk that may need to be addressed.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Canadian National Railway and the union representing 1,700 locomotive engineers will submit unresolved wage and benefits issues to binding arbitration after talks failed to yield a deal, Reuters reported.
Canada’s largest railway resumed labour talks with the Teamsters union on December 3 after a brief strike. The company and union had agreed to put outstanding issues to binding arbitration if no agreement was reached.
CN said talks ended on Saturday without a settlement. “The federal minister of labour will now appoint an arbitrator, who will have 90 days following his or her appointment to report to the minister with a final decision on a new collective agreement,” the company said in a statement. “Nothing precludes CN or the (union) from agreeing to further negotiations once the arbitration process starts.”
The railway said no further strike action is permitted under the dispute resolution mechanism, nor can CN lock out the union.
The accords could generate jobs, say supporters of free-trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea
A group of U.S. President Barack Obama’s sharpest congressional critics urged him in a letter released Friday to revive stalled free trade pacts with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea in early 2010.
The accords, which have languished amid stiff opposition from Democrats and their labor-union allies, could generate jobs at a time when the U.S. unemployment rate is at a quarter-century high, the Republican lawmakers wrote.
“In the interest of supporting American job creation, we ask that you jump-start the implementation process through your leadership,” said the group, led by Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.
The lawmakers called on Obama to promote the accords in his annual State of the Union speech – typically in late January – and pledged “to work steadfastly with you to implement each of these agreements as close to the start of next year as possible.” Read more here.
Friday, December 11, 2009
China remains the top country of origin for counterfeit and pirated goods, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Fiscal 2009 was a busy one for the U.S. government agencies charged with keeping counterfeit goods outside the country’s borders. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made 14,841 seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods for the fiscal year, according to the agencies’ annual report. The domestic value of the goods was $260.7 million. (Domestic value is the cost of making the illegal goods in a foreign country, plus the shipping and other costs required to bring the merchandise in to the U.S.)
Read more here. To view the full annual report, go to Fiscal 2008 Seizure Statistics.
The U.S. government joined 33 business groups on Thursday in protesting a new Chinese regulation they said promotes development of Chinese products by keeping foreign competitors out of the market.
“This is a serious concern. It is in the interests of both the U.S. and Chinese governments to promote innovation, but innovation is no excuse for discrimination,” said Carol Guthrie, a spokeswoman for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. “We are expressing our serious concerns with all appropriate counterparts in the Chinese government.”
U.S. trade officials also criticized China’s decision on Thursday to slap preliminary duties on imports of a U.S. specialty steel product. The move was seen by analysts as a response to U.S. duties on Chinese-made steel goods. Read more here.
Friday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said its composite leading indicator for its member countries rose to 101.4 in October from 100.4 recorded in September, suggesting recovery.
Press release, and information by country, available on the OECD website at the OECD website.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has made available on its website an updated informed compliance publication on CBP’s enforcement of intellectual property rights. This publication includes sections on the counterfeit and “confusingly similar” use of trademarks, parallel imports, Lever rule protection, copyright infringement, exclusion orders, criminal enforcement, IPR recordation, disclosure of information, penalties, and importer remedies following seizure.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The following is excerpted from the 9 December 2009 edition of “American Shipper”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not use a heavy hand to enforce the Importer Security Filing when the agency lifts its moratorium on issuing penalties for the advance commercial data requirements early next year, Acting Commissioner Jayson Ahern assured more than 800 import-export professionals on Tuesday.
The rule went into effect on January 26 and CBP gave importers and their logistics service providers a year to adapt their systems and processes before beginning enforcement measures.
Under ISF, importers must electronically submit 10 types of information identifying partners and locations responsible for moving a shipment via an ocean container from an overseas manufacturing site to a U.S. receiver – and do so 24 hours prior to vessel loading. Ocean carriers are to provide two sets of data related to their handling of the container.
The import community has faced enormous challenges preparing for the “10+2” rule, most notably tracing back the information to various suppliers, investing in systems to collect the data earlier than ever before and transmitting it to CBP through an approved information pipeline. Read more here.
As the sun begins to set on 2009, international traders are likely breathing a collective sigh of relief. Accustomed to hefty annual increases, traders are weathering a 17% drop in global volumes thus far in the year, and there are few signs of rebound. Will traders’ fortunes revive in the coming year? […]
This mindset left the world largely unprepared for a correction. But the rising importance of trade tied its fortunes more closely to global trends – in essence, the consumption excesses of the West were exported everywhere, and in many locales, these became production and trade-related-infrastructure excesses. As such, at current activity levels there is sizeable surplus productive capacity worldwide.
Shippers agree heartily. The container business – red-hot in the bubble years – is estimated to have tumbled by over 10% in 2009, the worst year by a large margin in the industry’s half-century history. Certain key ports are registering volume declines of up to 30% in the first half of this year. Ports that handle origin-destination shipping are faring better than the large trans-shipment facilities. Singapore falls into the latter category, and year-to-date traffic is well below the average, down by over 16%. Read more and/or watch the video here.
Are rate wars putting truckers on a path to self-destruction?
When does rate-cutting morph into throat-cutting? That may be a reasonable question for trucking executives to ponder as they start 2010. That is, if they aren’t too busy beating each other up over pricing to think through the consequences of their actions. […]
Industry veterans have rarely seen anything like it. Michael Regan, CEO of TranzAct Technologies Inc., an Elmhurst, Ill.-based consultancy that over the years has negotiated and purchased billions of dollars of LTL capacity for shipper clients, says he’s seen discounts of as much as 90% below retail, or tariff, rates. Read more here.
A proposed bill to help create new U.S. jobs should include strong “Buy American” provisions, even though that may be viewed as a protectionist move, two lawmakers said on Tuesday.
“If we are going to pass a strong job creation bill then it only makes sense to include strong Buy American provisions to further ensure that the jobs ... are created within the United States,” lawmakers Bruce Braley and Mike Michaud said in a letter to House of Representatives leaders. The lawmakers are the heads of two separates caucuses in the House aimed at keeping jobs in the United States.
Congress is mulling spending from $75 billion to $200 billion on projects to help put workers back on the job and bring the U.S. unemployment rate down from 10%. Read more here.
The Department of Transportation’s freight transportation services index fell 10.5% in October from a year earlier, the largest such decline in the 20 years in which it has been calculated. The index fell 1.2% from September, reaching a 94.5 reading, DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in its monthly report Wednesday. The figure is a 1% increase from the recent low of 93.5 reached in May, the lowest level since June 1997.Read more here.
Canada unexpectedly returned to a trade surplus in October after three months of deficits as exports to the United States picked up steam and gold and energy prices rose. Statistics Canada said on Thursday the trade surplus in October totaled C$428 million ($408 million). Analysts polled by Reuters poll had forecast a C$700 million deficit, while trade deficit in September was C$850 million. […]
The economy just managed to wriggle out of recession in the third quarter with annualized growth disappointing markets at just 0.4%.Summary statistics and a link to the data files are on the Statistics Canada website. Export and import price indexes are available here.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security announced December 8 the creation of the Import Safety Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center, a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility designed to streamline and enhance federal efforts to address import safety issues.
The CTAC will combine the resources and manpower of CBP and other government agencies – including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Inspection Service – to protect the U.S. public from unsafe imported products by improving communication and information-sharing and reducing redundant inspection activities.
The new facility will be headed by and located adjacent to CBP’s Office of International Trade in Washington, D.C. Approximately 30 personnel representing all of the participating agencies will work at the CTAC. Find out more about the CTAC here.
Corporations that have recently expanded or hope to expand into the increasingly global marketplace should make global partner integration a top priority for remaining competitive. But a new report shows that very few companies actually do that.
The report, “Greater Innovation Through Closer Collaboration,” summarizes a study of approximately 400 corporate executives, many representing companies worth more than $1 billion, conducted by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.
Joel Reed, senior vice president for product management and marketing at Sterling Commerce, a sponsor of the report, told SCMR he was seeing, in working with clients, an anecdotal need for boosting collaboration in the global supply chain. The survey’s purpose, in part, was to see how widespread the problem is.
Read more here or view the report in question by clicking here.
Legislation pending in the U.S. Congress to cut greenhouse-gas emissions may reduce imports of Chinese goods by 20%, a World Bank study said. The provision, included in the measure passed by the U.S. House in June, would tax imports from countries that don’t enact curbs on carbon-dioxide emissions. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, both Democrats, say any legislation in the U.S. to limit pollutants must include the so-called border measures to tax imports. The Senate hasn’t yet acted on the greenhouse-gas measure.
“People haven’t thought through the full implications of those measures,” Aaditya Mattoo, a World Bank economist and one of the paper’s authors, said in an interview. Read more here.
What is being billed as the largest and most important UN climate change conference in history has opened in Copenhagen, with diplomats from 192 nations warning that this could be the last chance for a deal to protect the world from global warming.
The transport industry, as a major contributor of greenhouse gases, will be under considerable pressure to reduce its emissions. Although much has been done, progress has been considered too slow if the EU is to meet existing overall greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 2020. If the EU commits to further reductions at Copenhagen, governments will have to find new ways in which to constrain transport demand. […]
The EC has already stated that emissions from the transport sector will be subject to binding targets at Member State level including the use of biofuels. However it has concluded that existing targets can only be met by a reduction of total transport demand (passenger and freight). This could be through pricing measures or other types of ‘demand management tools’. Read more here.
President Lee Myung-bak and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday agreed to work for progress in bilateral free trade negotiations. The two met at Cheong Wa Dae.
Korea and Canada launched free trade talks in 2005, but 13 rounds of negotiations have failed to produce an accord due to differences on issues like the resumption of beef imports from Canada. Following the summit, Harper told a press conference that the World Trade Organization is reviewing Canada’s complaint about Korea’s refusal to resume beef imports, but he and Lee discussed ways to remove roadblocks.
Lee said, “The Korean government has the principle that it will resume the imports of Canadian beef someday. There are some problems unresolved. But I think the two countries will be able to reach agreement.”
Korea halted Canadian beef imports when mad cow disease broke out in Canada in May 2003. Canada has demanded that Korea resume them, noting the world organization for animal health (OIE) ruled in May 2007 that Canada had the disease under control. It filed a suit against Korea with the WTO in April this year calling for a resumption of imports, and procedures are under way.
Legislation to create a single 13% sales tax in Ontario passed third and final reading Wednesday despite strong objections and delaying tactics by the Opposition. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan told the legislature that blending the five per cent goods and services tax with the provincial tax will lower costs for businesses, allowing them to cut prices for consumers and hire more staff.
“Doing nothing is not an option [and] the status quo is just absolutely the wrong thing,” Duncan said in third-reading debate. “This package will create jobs.” The government estimates the harmonized sales tax (HST) will help create almost 600,000 jobs in Ontario over the next decade.
In an interview from Mumbai, India, Premier Dalton McGuinty said he is convinced the HST is critical to help reposition Ontario as it comes out of a recession in which the province lost hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“I think people understand in their heart of hearts that our world has changed and the old world is not coming back,” said McGuinty. “There are a number of things that we need to do to adjust to the new reality and secure a better future for our families, and one of those is to put in place a modern, competitive tax system.”
The opposition parties failed to convince the government to hold public hearings on the HST bill across the province, and accused the Liberals of being afraid to face a voter backlash against the new tax. The Liberals used their majority “to ram through the HST bill as quickly as possible and with little debate as possible,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
The Progressive Conservatives reluctantly admitted defeat after weeks of trying to block the HST, including a 44-hour occupation of the legislature by two Tories, asking for frequent votes to delay proceedings, and repeatedly calling McGuinty a liar. Read more here.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It’s too soon to declare that the nascent economic recovery will last, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned Monday. “We still have some way to go before we can be assured that the recovery will be self-sustaining,” Bernanke said a speech to the Economic Club in Washington, D.C.
The Fed chief repeated his belief that the recovery will continue at least into next year. But he warned that “formidable headwinds” such as a weak job market, cautious consumers and still-tight credit threaten an American economy that grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in the third quarter of 2009. Those forces “seem likely to keep the pace of expansion moderate,” he said. Economists worry that the recovery in the world’s largest economy could fizzle in the latter part of 2010 as government stimulus fades.
The U.S. economy is closely watched in Canada because the latter’s economy is heavily dependent on a healthy American market for its natural resources, services or manufactured goods exports. Although Canada entered recession several months after the United States and its key financial services and real estate sectors have both held up comparatively well, both countries are dealing with high unemployment and added government spending calculated to soften the blow and restore consumer and business confidence. Read more here.
An updated version of the North American Transportation Statistics (NATS) database, a unique online source for comprehensive information on transportation activity, is being released today. The database is the result of a tripartite initiative representing the transportation and statistical agencies of Canada, United States and Mexico.
All three countries have updated the tables to include 2008 data where available.
The database covers 12 specific areas of interest, including transportation and the economy, passenger and freight transportation, transportation and energy consumption, as well as transportation safety.
The NATS database provides consistent and comparable data across modes of transportation and countries to help evaluate transportation benefits and impacts. It helps in understanding changes in dynamic transportation markets in this era of global economic growth.
Written in English, French and Spanish, the NATS database is available online here.
For more information on the NATS database in Canada, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-500-8400; email@example.com), Transportation Division.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Canada approves environmental study but lawsuits delay cross-border span
Canada last week achieved a critical milestone toward building the $3 billion Detroit River International Crossing. But the final opening still faces at least four years of delay by the most hopeful calculation from 2013 to 2017.
Canadian authorities gave their final approval in an exhaustive environmental process which has lasted several years since federal and local governments decided to build a new bridge two miles upriver from the 80-year-old Ambassador Bridge. The same U.S. process ended in approval early this year. The two environmental approvals would normally allow the project to go ahead.
Even four extra years can become more if there are further delays from a huge tangle of lawsuits in U.S. courts or from renewed opposition in the Michigan legislature, where the private owner of the venerable Ambassador Bridge, Manual Moroun, has several supporters. Moroun wants to build his own new span and stop the public DRIC. Read more here.
The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL), a Crown corporation, and the St. Mary's River Bridge Company (SMRBC), the Canadian owner of the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge and a wholly-owned subsidiary of FBCL, wish to inform the public that the detailed design for the replacement of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) facilities at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge will begin in December 2009.
The existing CBSA facilities at the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge need to be replaced as the buildings are overcrowded, functionally obsolete and operationally deficient.
An environmental assessment was initiated by FBCL in July 2007 and signed off in June 2009.
Funding of approximately $44.1M has been allocated by the federal government in early fall through the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund. The project's design and construction activities will be spread over approximately five years.
For Mr. James McIntyre, Chairman of SMRBC, “The replacement of the CBSA facilities is made possible through a $44M contribution agreement between SMRBC and the Government of Canada to cover the costs. While some purchases of lands have been completed, the remaining land acquisitions necessary are underway and are expected to continue in 2010-2011”.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Canada’s small to medium-sized companies may have turned cautious on foreign expansion after the global recession with many saying their earlier expectations for success have not been met, a survey found.
One-quarter of respondents to the KPMG “Taking on the world” survey were unsure if their ventures in overseas markets were successful, while another quarter admitted they weren’t. Half of the 294 companies responding said they thought their operations outside of Canada were successful, but that’s down from last year’s number.
The results contrast with government figures showing that companies are taking advantage of the strong loonie to go on a buying spree for foreign assets, especially in the United States. Read more here.
1. The purpose of this notice is to inform exporters that the 2010 version of the Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) software will be released on December 17, 2009.
2. The 2009 version of CAED will expire on January 31, 2010. CAED participants should upgrade to CAED 2010 by downloading the software from the CAED Web site here.
3. Please note that the "Currency of Declared Value" field in CAED 2010 has been modified. It will now be possible to use the Canadian dollar ($CAN) or the United States Dollar ($USD) in the "Currency of Declared Value" field. To convert other currencies to the Canadian dollar ($CAN), exporters may use the exchange rate tool on the Bank of Canada website.
4. Operating systems that will be supported by CAED 10 include Win2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista.
5. Please note that the CAED software will be fully compatible with Windows 7 with the release of version 10.5 which is slated to be released in late summer 2010. For further information regarding the compatibility of the CAED with Windows 7, please contact the CAED Helpdesk at Statistics Canada at the number listed bellow.
6. The release notes for CAED 2010 will be available on the Statistics Canada CAED Web site here.
7. For more information about CAED, contact the CAED Helpdesk at Statistics Canada by telephone at 1-800-257-2434 or 613-951-6291 for calls outside North America, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the CAED website.
8. For more information about export reporting, contact the Border Information Service (BIS) throughout Canada at 1-800-461-9999 (English) and 1-800-959-2036 (French). If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access BIS by calling 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply.
Please direct any questions regarding this notice to:
Export Process Licensing,
Export and Accounting Policy Division, Admissibility BranchCanada Border Services AgencyTelephone: 613-954-7160 • Facsimile: 613-946-0241
Border measures to protect domestic manufacturers from unfair foreign competition as part of climate change legislation could run foul of global trade rules, a Brussels think tank said on Thursday. Such border measures could also be economically unworkable, said Fredrik Erixon, director of the ECIPE research institute.
"Many countries are going to think twice because they know they are going to unleash quite hard responses, very likely retaliation, from other countries," Erixon told a conference call about a study on trade and climate. "It is difficult to see how they are going to be squared with basic rules," he said. Read more here.
The full ECIPE paper can be accessed here. (PDF — 31 pages)
Are Canadian supply chain managers innovative enough when it comes to technology? Several sets of data go long way towards answering the question.
Recently, Industry Canada partnered with SCL Canada’s research committee to aggregate some research on how supply chain managers use technology. The two parties consulted several studies issued by Statistics Canada and other international research organizations and analyzed the findings. The result is a set of conclusions based on feedback from more than 20,000 firms.
In November, SCL Canada launched its Technology Tour to explain the findings, stopping in six cities across the country. Philippe Richer, associate director of the service industries and consumer product branch at Industry Canada, presented the information. […]
According to Richer, the lax adoption of e-based technology among companies in the supply chain is cause for concern. One big reason they should act, he said, is because they stand to gain so much. He cited an Aberdeen Group report that found 90% of companies embracing leading-edge collaboration applications achieved gains of at least 15% in order fill accuracy. Only 40% of low technology adopters have the same results.
High adopters of the technology are also achieving comparative advantages in total delivered costs, lead-time reductions, perfect orders and increased compliance to customer mandates. Read more here.
There has been a breakthrough in talks between Ottawa and Washington aimed at resolving a dispute over a protectionist U.S. policy known as Buy America, according to a source close to the negotiations.
A tentative deal is ready to go to the desks of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama, the source said, but both could still face significant political obstacles in winning support for the deal. […]
The compromise would for the first time guarantee that U.S. manufacturers could bid on supply contracts being awarded by provincial and municipal governments in Canada, the source said. Read more here.
Learn how you can participate in IBM's Smarter Planet Solutions Global Value Chain.
Smarter Planet Solutions address today's challenges such as climate change, energy, and global supply chains for food and medicine. Adopting these smarter solutions will reduce your carbon footprint and give you a competitive edge in the U.S. market.
As the world continues to get “smaller” and “flatter”, we see now that being connected isn't enough. Fortunately, something else is happening that holds new potential: the planet is becoming smarter through more intelligent systems, processes and infrastructure.
Kim Devooght, IBM Canada's Vice President, Public Sector, will discuss IBM's perspective related to these challenges and highlight opportunities for Canadian organizations in the North American context.
Why should you participate? You will:
• Understand IBM's smart planet focus;
• Gain a perspective on this emerging and dynamic technology trend;
• Learn how your company can partner with IBM to deliver Smarter Planet Solutions.
Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Time: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST Cost: Free
After the presentations, there will be a 20-minute Q&A period. The presentations will be in English but the speakers will take questions in both French and English. Through the Virtual Trade Commissioner, a) the webinar will be made available for on-demand viewing following the live session; b) participants may also download the presentation slides, in both French and English.
Please register by December 8, 2009. Registration here.
For additional information, please email Guillaume Parent: email@example.com
This memorandum supersedes Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification, dated April 1, 2003. This memorandum has been revised in accordance with the Government of Canada’s Paper Burden Reduction Initiative. The revisions are aimed at eliminating obsolete and duplicated requirements and modifying complex policies.
Federal agencies often share missions as a way to tap expertise, share responsibility and costs, usually for the good of the country. Land ports of entry, at the Canadian and Mexican borders of the United States, are a shared mission. Unfortunately, border crossing points have become victims of bureaucratic drift that hampers the free flow of legitimate trade and travel and does little to advance the agenda of President Obama and Congress.
With a few exceptions, land ports of entry are federally owned buildings. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is the nation's landlord and builds and manages most of the federal government's buildings and courthouses. At the border, GSA is responsible for building, leasing and maintaining the facilities, while U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides security and inspection of both people and goods. Even the Departments of Commerce and State have responsibilities at the borders.
Also, unbeknownst to many Americans, state and local law enforcement use these border facilities in executing their missions. Our borders work best when these federal, state and local entities work together and when there is mutual respect for the responsibilities and the importance of each mission.
GSA isn't always efficient in executing its mission, and, often allows bureaucratic wrangling and inter-agency finger pointing that is counterproductive to accomplishing its mission priorities.
CBP is an organization, fighting for survival in the bureaucratic jungle that is DHS – an agency still undergoing growing pains since its inception in 2003. The 22 entities combined to form DHS still spend enormous amounts of time and taxpayer dollars fighting century-old turf wars. Read more here.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Railroad acts quickly to resume normal operations
Canadian National Railway was ramping its operations back up December 3 following a five-day strike by locomotive engineers, but it was not clear how long it would take Canada’s largest railroad to get back to full service. Industry sources had said during the strike that it would take at least several days to get all crews back on regular schedules and get train traffic back to a pre-strike pace. Read more here.
Unionized workers who sort baggage at the Vancouver International Airport warned on Tuesday they may walk off the job during the busy Christmas holiday season. The 300 workers employed by Swissport have approved a strike mandate and talks over wages and job security are at an impasse, according to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union.
The union said the company’s latest offer contained no pay increase for lower seniority workers who make up a majority of the workforce. “This offer is nothing short of crap,” local union Chairman Todd Haverstock said in a statement. Read more here.
You are cordially invited to participate in the next NEBS Mission to Buffalo on Wednesday, February 17 and Thursday, February 18, 2010.
NEBS is a cost-effective program ideally suited for anyone involved in export development to the U.S., whether working in a management, inside or outside sales, marketing or business development position. It offers practical, hands-on information on the fundamentals of exporting to the United States by combining expert briefings on such topics as U.S. banking, legal and tax considerations, immigration issues, U.S. customs clearance procedures, logistics and regulatory requirements. The mission also includes site visits to a U.S. customs border entry point and warehousing facility.
If your company has been in business for at least one year and has a manufacturing or service base in Ontario, and you are interested in obtaining additional information on this program, please complete the attached form and fax it to the fax number provided.
The last major legal hurdle in the way of a new $5 billion publicly owned bridge over the Detroit River has been cleared, removing one of the last barriers to the start of one of the largest construction projects in Canadian history.
Transport Canada will announce today that it has won full approval for the wide-ranging Environmental Assessment it has prepared for the Detroit River International Bridge project.
Years in the making, the approval is to be announced this morning, a reliable federal source confirmed to me Wednesday afternoon. Read more here.
China, the country that introduced the world to formerly obscure chemicals like melamine and diethylene glycol via a series of product safety scandals, is now hoping to salvage its image through an advertising campaign. Read more here.
A group of U.S. senators urged President Barack Obama on Monday to back legislation requiring the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a long list of other trade pacts they blame for millions of lost U.S. manufacturing jobs.
“We want trade and plenty of it, but we want trade under new rules. The TRADE Act will help Congress and the White House craft a trade policy that makes sense and learns from our many mistakes over the past couple of decades,” Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, told reporters in a conference call.
The bill, which has seven co-sponsors in the Senate, shows the strong opposition Obama could face from many members of his own Democratic Party if he pushes for new trade agreements without addressing concerns about past trade pacts. Six Democrats are among the co-sponsors, as well as independent Bernie Sanders. Read more here.
Proposed change would eliminate drawback on goods subject to excise taxes
Exporters and other interested parties have an additional month to tell Customs and Border Protection what they think about a controversial change in drawback regulations. The agency on Wednesday extended the comment period past the original deadline of December 14 to January 12, 2010, on a proposed rule change that would keep importers from claiming drawback on goods subject to U.S. excise taxes.
Companies have been able to recover 99% of the excise taxes they pay on imported goods if they export “commercially interchangeable” products. It’s widely used in the alcohol, tobacco and petroleum industries. Read more here.
106, new Stanford study finds
The supply chain world, in general, is replete with various process models, such as those developed by the Supply Chain Council (SCOR Model), CSCMP, various consultants, and many others.
But when it comes to truly global supply chain processes, the stock of existing process models quickly becomes a lot thinner. That, in part, led a couple of well-respected Stanford University professors (Warren Hausman and Hau Lee) to take a look at an end-to-end process model for global trade management, as well as the potential benefits from automating those process.
“The two or three process models that were available did not really have enough detail to enable them to be used for process improvements,” Dr. Hausman said on a recent videocast from Supply Chain Digest and The Supply Chain Television Channel,” that provided a summary of the research. […]
All told, Hausman and Lee identified 106 discrete steps in a global trade management process. An example of the first portion of the process model is shown here. The entire 106-step model is available in the report, which is available for download from SCDigest: How Enterprises and Trading Partners Gain from Global Trade Management: A New Process Model for the China-to-US Trade Lane (registration required). Read more here.
Any threat by the United States to slap fees on imports from countries it perceives as weak on cutting carbon emissions could hamper trade relations and delay international efforts to combat global warming.
Lawmakers in states that produce cement, chemicals, steel and other energy-intensive products have called for such tariffs in climate legislation. They fear those industries looking to cut regulation costs could pull up stakes and move to countries that don't have strong climate plans.
But experts say the tariffs may do more harm than good.
“One of the big problems is retaliation,” said Jeffrey Frankel, professor of capital formation at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. “Other countries will say 'If the U.S. is doing it, we'll put up our own trade barriers.'“ Read more here.
The Export Controls Division of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, in cooperation with the Controlled Goods Directorate of Public Works and Governments Services Canada, is organizing a series of Domestic and Export Controls Seminars in the following cities:
• Montreal – December 8, 2009 • Quebec – December 10, 2009 • Halifax – January 27, 2010 • Calgary – February 23, 2010 • Vancouver – March 24, 2010
These seminars will review the responsibilities of Canadian industry in safeguarding military, strategic, and sensitive commercial goods and technology. Our presentation will cover the following issues: International security and trade; Understanding the Export Control List; Applying for an export permit using Export Controls Online (EXCOL); Understanding the application review process; and Common errors made by exporters.
If your company is active in any of the following sectors, you should consider participation: defence, security, nuclear, aerospace and space, information and communication technology, and chemical or biological technology. The seminars will be aimed at individuals in the following roles: Customs or export process specialists; International marketing managers; Compliance officers; Legal officers; and Designated Officers.
There will be an opportunity to meet with officials for a 15-minute one-to-one meeting after the session (3:00–5:00 p.m.). If you are interested, please make sure you indicate this on your registration form provided on our website. You may fax or email your registration. For further information, please contact the Export Controls Division at firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has warned that shipowners should no longer send ships through areas affected by piracy because of the risk to seafarers. In a motion adopted by its fair practice committee, the ITF said flag states and shipowners that had not taken anti-piracy measures in the Indian Ocean should act before it became “impossible for seafarers to pass through the ever-widening danger area”.
The ITF said: “Save in exceptional circumstances, ships should not transit the [affected] area. The risk of attack is now so great that putting seafarers in harm’s way amounts to a breach of the shipowner’s duty of care.”
ITF maritime coordinator Steve Cotton added: “There are countries actively fighting piracy and there are owners training and supporting their crews to resist it.
Canadian companies that have experience working with regional health authorities in Canada or on the Canadian Health Infoway (CHI) networked projects are well placed to bring their interoperable solutions to the U.S. market.
Did you know that the healthcare industry is receiving $142.3 billion from the U.S. stimulus package? This represents more than any other sector.
Register now to find out how your company can tap into the U.S. Health IT market and become more successful across the border.
Why should you participate?
You will: Discover regional opportunities directly from trade commissioners in Philadelphia and New York; Gain insight on privacy, security, sustainability and interoperability related to the U.S. Health IT industry – What lessons have we learned?; Learn how wireless technology is revolutionizing the delivery of health services.
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2009 • Time: 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. EST • Cost: Free
After the presentation, there will be a 20-minute Q&A period. The presentation will be in English but the speakers will take questions in both French and English. The presentation will also be made available for on-demand viewing in both French and English following the live webinar. Registration is requested by December 10, 2009. For additional information, please email Guillaume Parent.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Businesses in London and the area will have a greater opportunity to access and compete in international markets thanks to an investment of up to $8 million to establish an International Air Freight Transshipment Centre at the London International Airport that will create up to 150 new jobs and launch a new Cargo Village Gateway. […]
The enhanced development will allow London International Airport to capture an opportunity to become an international trade centre that generates international transportation, enhanced competitiveness for regional business and new sustainable employment. For more information on the project, please see the backgrounder here.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Negotiations are nearing completion on the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which is set to have far-reaching implications for the global intellectual property landscape. Following the latest round of talks – held in Seoul earlier this month – the participating countries will meet in Mexico in the New Year in line with their aim of finalising the agreement text in the early part of 2010.
Countries that attended the sixth round of negotiations, hosted by the Republic of Korea, included Australia, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Singapore and the US. The European Union, meanwhile, was represented by delegates from the European Commission, the EU Presidency – currently held by Sweden – and several EU Member States. The nations reaffirmed their efforts to develop a powerful treaty under international law for enforcing the protection of IP Rights.
According to United States trade representative Ron Kirk, the talks ‘focused on enforcement of rights in the digital environment and criminal enforcement’. While negotiations have so far been conducted on a confidential basis, Kirk hinted that more information about the direction of the talks is forthcoming. ‘Participants … discussed the importance of transparency,’ he added, ‘including the availability of opportunities for stakeholders and the public in general to provide meaningful input into the negotiating process.’ Read more here.
For weeks before the 1999 World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting in Seattle, state and local authorities had known that peaceful protests were being planned around the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. But as I drove through downtown on the night of November 29 and saw waves of people returning from a rally waving placards, I got a sinking feeling that the anti-trade sentiment was stronger than people had anticipated. ...events of that day still resonate 10 years later – because the profound questions and concerns that many Americans still have about trade and globalization have not been fully answered. […]
The Obama administration is working to build a new consensus on trade, one that can create widespread prosperity for everyone. While in Asia recently, President Obama pledged that the U.S. would engage in the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, which would draw us closer to Asia – a bloc of countries that buys 26% of U.S. exports – while setting a high bar for human rights, environmental protection and labor that could serve as a model for future trade agreements.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department, which I have the honor to lead, is significantly expanding our export-promotion efforts around the world to ensure that U.S. businesses – especially the small and medium-size enterprises that account for more than half of all new jobs – have fair and frequent access to foreign markets. I'm confident that the steps we're taking will help make the benefits of trade more immediately apparent to all Americans – and that is vitally important.
I understand the frustration we saw in Seattle 10 years ago, and in these difficult economic times, we're seeing similar emotions from people who feel like the American economy just doesn't work for them and their families anymore.
That's got to change. Under the leadership of this administration, it will.
Read the complete editorial here.